All Hands On Deck!


Confession: When people ask me about my concerns with public school (they assume there’s a problem because why else would I homeschool, right?) I would answer that it’s more about what they DON’T do as opposed to what they do.

Don’t get me wrong; Faith, morals, and sexual abstinence are all great perks of homeschooling but I wouldn’t say that this is such a deciding factor any more.

I’m not even worried about the perceived lack of socialization as much as I’m terribly concerned that spending that many hours in a seat, with a book and a pencil, is considered “normal”.

I mean, I’ve held a full-time office job.  I didn’t appreciate all the time at that desk.  I can’t imagine my children (specifically, my active children) would fare that much better spending that much time in a seat and then coming home to do homework!

So what has us all sold on homeschooling (yes, even my kids) is all the hands-on learning, one-on-one learning, auditory and kinesthetic learning we can do in ALL areas of our house!

Anakin readingMy kids love to do their reading on the sofa and at times, with the dogs.  Reading to dogs is actually so beneficial for kids; it lowers their anxiety about reading and it gives kinesthetic learners something to DO while they sit still – like calmly and repetitively stroking the back of an animal that is all too happy to cooperate for this lesson!

This year, we decided to add some formal cooking to our curriculum by using Raddish as a part of our Home Economics.  Best decision ever! They’re learning world geography and culture as well as kitchen skills, and of course – math and chemistry! This month, in honor of the Olympics, our subscription box was filled with Brazillian recipes and fun facts.

family dinnerThen there are all the ways that God shows up in our homeschooling and bringing things together even better than I planned… Like, how was I supposed to plan for my kids to see Brazilian Gauchos swinging Bolas on YouTube as a part of our Raddish lesson and then learn about centrifugal forces in physics, where my daughter *entirely by coincidence* built bolas on her own?

Science is being supplemented with my middle child with Noeo-Yo Science kits and lessons because she’s a relatively new reader and Physics is not our strong point.  I was more than happy to find a donated science kit box and curriculum at IDEA and just find the additional literature through yard sales and thrift stores… I must have spent about $30 out of pocket total but this gives me science experiments that I can do along with her Bookshark curriculum so she can understand the concepts.  It’s always worth it to bring the subjects off the page.

By the way, my kids LOVE Bookshark.  They love what they’re reading.  I’m loving it more now than I did when I originally mentioned them!

Caleb mathMy younger two are also using RightStart Math as their curriculum and I have to admit, this is a complete change for me.  I was taught very linear, traditional math and I excelled up until high school.  I was NOT happy with Common Core math.  RightStart is time consuming on my part (I can’t just hand over the textbook and hope for the best, I have to do each lesson with them) but it’s time very well invested.  My kids are developing a hands-on concept of quantities and mathematics and they can do so much more in their heads with just one month of starting!  And my youngest, who is a little bit of a smarty pants, slows down a bit and enjoys the manipulatives that come with the lessons.

I wish public school teachers in every school district had the opportunity to do more hands-on, on-your-feet lessons.  I know they try their best, and sadly too many of them are going above and beyond in less than ideal conditions.  But if I’m completely honest, I’m sold on homeschooling because we can do learning beyond the tests!  No assessments, just manipulation until they can confidently say they know how all the cogs move in a subject matter.

And just so you know, Raddish is a subscription box for ALL children, not just homeschoolers!  I would say it’s worth using Noeo-Yo or RightStart Math with a public school child who is struggling or is bored.  Don’t ever feel that just because your child goes to public school, you can’t take the lead with some enrichment activities at home.

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Do you have some hands-on suggestions? Share below!

Generational Curses… The Ugly

Confession: If you open your heart to the Lord and choose to break these generational curses that are coming to light now, it will be the most painful thing you will ever do.

Nothing will make you more vulnerable than stripping down every wall you have, to really get down to the brass tacks of your pain.  Everything you’ve tried to push away will come to the surface again and overwhelm you. It would be easier to just walk away from the process and say, “I’m doing my best.”

maskThe obvious changes you have to make are not the most difficult ones.  It’s kind of a “duh” moment if you realize you shouldn’t do drugs the way you saw your dad do drugs.  In fact, for those of us who had really bad parents, it’s almost natural to do the exact opposite!

My husband never struggled with alcoholism.  It was one of his birth father’s excuses.  He never touched anything even remotely mind altering – not even coffee – before he was 27.  Never has the desire to.  Being sober is something that is as easy and effortless as breathing.

The UGLY comes when you realize you’re more damaged than you let on at church and now you don’t even know how to ask for help.  It looks ugly when that temper comes out and you are embarrassed in front of all the other good moms; it’s even uglier when you realize that you lost your temper because your internal voice is filled with self-loathing and you have been constantly comparing yourself to all those other good moms.

It’s UGLY when your internal voice is constantly critical and you can find everything that’s wrong with your children because you can only remember everything that is wrong with yourself – according to all you’ve always been told.

And it’s even uglier when you start the process of turning this over to the Lord and you need to make ugly choices – like staying away from relatives who haven’t repented from their patterns of behavior because you are not strong enough to interact with them and just do better.  Setting up some boundaries to get yourself healthy when it’s not all that obvious you weren’t well in the first place.  And practicing some sort of self care – whether through talking to your Pastor or seeing a Psychologist.  Because when you are turning to the light and others want to stay in the darkness of these same behaviors, they treat you ugly.

child-bibleIt’s like you’re not supposed to be whole and at peace, and Spirit filled.  Aren’t you just satisfied with being saved?  Do you really need to strive to be better?  Aren’t you pretty good?  You’re just trying to make us look bad.  God doesn’t want you to just “make it into heaven”, He wants to offer you life and abundance right NOW.  A saved position in eternity is good, but a right spirit is the goal!

10 Create in me a pure heart, O God,
    and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
11 Do not cast me from your presence
    or take your Holy Spirit from me.
12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation
    and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me. -Psalms 51, NIV

This is the new heart God wants to give all of us; one that comes with steadfastness, and a willingness to follow after Him.  One that’s filled with joy!  One that is renewed!

After all, if we’re talking about generational curses, don’t we want to be renewed?  Get a clean slate, a new start?

Getting slightly personal here, I have to confess that I’m done enabling other people’s horrible habits in order to keep them comfortable.  I’m choosing to only pursue a relationship with those who love me unconditionally for who I am!  I need to change the voices in my head.  I can’t get rid of the tune in my head and keep playing the same song!  That would be the definition of insanity.  When I’m stronger, and Christ finishes this work in me, I may be able to have a relationship with those who could break me, based on forgiveness.  I just can’t handle these things now and more importantly, I can’t put my children in the midst of this emotional beating.

This ends now.  This ends with me.

Generational Curses… The Bad

Confession: My previous post probably raised some eyebrows.  I wouldn’t be surprised if it also caused some controversy.  Specially among immediate and distant relatives.  But I can say with full confidence: If you have a problem with what I wrote, you can call me.

I can also say with full confidence that my family life is fine.  My husband is a wonderful, God-fearing man who sets an amazing example as a father.  When it comes to father-to-children relationships, my hunny bunny is hard to beat.

The same goes for my church, my in-laws, my dad, and any other specifics you may be wondering about and trying to fish out of my last post.

In essence, go fish.

bible-and-prayerNow on to the BAD aspect of breaking generational curses:

Please turn to Ezekiel 18, under the NIV title “The One Who Sins Will Die”.  Read that whole section.  I’ll highlight a verse or two here, but I don’t want my words taken out of context:

19 “Yet you ask, ‘Why does the son not share the guilt of his father?’ Since the son has done what is just and right and has been careful to keep all my decrees, he will surely live. 20 The one who sins is the one who will die. The child will not share the guilt of the parent, nor will the parent share the guilt of the child. The righteousness of the righteous will be credited to them, and the wickedness of the wicked will be charged against them.

21 “But if a wicked person turns away from all the sins they have committed and keeps all my decrees and does what is just and right, that person will surely live; they will not die. 22 None of the offenses they have committed will be remembered against them. Because of the righteous things they have done, they will live. 23 Do I take any pleasure in the death of the wicked? declares the Sovereign Lord. Rather, am I not pleased when they turn from their ways and live?

God gets pretty in-depth to tell us, paraphrase mine, “You have a choice!  I don’t care what your family did before you.  I don’t even care what you have done all of this time up until this moment!  When you choose Me, you choose life.”

That’s such a good thing!  But it’s under “The Bad” because it’s a hard thing.  With a personal choice comes personal responsibility!  As we read the whole chapter, we realize that the adult (you and me) who has seen our parents do X, Y, or Z, must make a conscious and sometimes painful decision to do the EXACT OPPOSITE if we realize that XYZ doesn’t honor the Lord.  Even if that’s all you’ve ever known.  Even if that’s all you know to do.

So much easier said than done.

mom-hugDo my children know that I deliberately hug them through out the day to make sure they receive more physical affection than I remember?  That I look at my disheveled son and bit my lip to keep myself from nitpicking all the ways he looks like a hot mess because I can’t handle criticism any more?  That I tell my daughter she’s beautiful every day where all I remember is being told I eat too much and I’m fat?  And that I apologize to them infinitely more times for every time I lose my temper than I ever heard?

Don’t get me wrong, my parents did everything they could.  They were wonderful parents.  Busy, hardworking parents under less-than-ideal circumstances.

Nonetheless, as I am held accountable for MY parenting, I can’t give excuses.  So I have to pursue God for myself and rethink my own subconscious tones.

Have you ever had to think about what you’re thinking?  And dig deep into where that comes from?  Search your soul for and pray and find the memories that trigger that thought process so you can change your behavior patterns??  In a way, alcoholics get more help than the rest of us do.  They get support groups, a buddy, and 12 steps.  But I don’t do drugs and I don’t see a psychologist (though I have gone through seasons of Zoloft) and I am learning all of this through trial and error.  And then prayer and repentance.  And more trial and error.

A transparent look at faith, family, and fitness from my perspective…